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« New Orleans Pelicans Free Agency Tracker
Taking a Holiday
I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies
This is the dawning of the rest of our lives
— Green Day, Holiday
New Orleans Pelicans News
The biggest news of the week is the trading of Nerlens Noel, drafted with the sixth pick, along with a protected first round pick in the 2014 NBA Draft (the pick protection is at least top 3, but has been reported to be top 5) to the Philadelphia 76’ers in exchange for the 42nd pick in the 2013 Draft and Jrue Holiday. The 42nd pick was used to acquire point guard Pierre Jackson.
The trade will not be official, as with all Draft night trades, until at least July 10, per NBA rules. This is why the Pelicans have not introduced their new All-Star guard.
With free agency opening, the Pelicans reportedly have a meeting scheduled with Tyreke Evans and are interested in Andre Iguodala, Chris Copeland, and Kevin Martin.
Free Agency has opened if you can read this post. Also, there’s been no word about Smith being waived, so his last year is now fully guaranteed.
Around Bourbon Street Shots
In the NO previewed the Draft and talked about building teams with former Suns executive and ESPN writer Amin Elhassen in a fantastic two part episode. Then, the guys analyzed the Holiday trade and ramifications for the Pelicans.
In more Holiday news, there is a Cap analysis. and opinions from Bourbon Street Shots writers and a Sixers writer, the latter of which is very encouraging.
`Voices of the People’
With small forward looming as the weakest position, a barrage of prospect profiles has been produced and is ongoing.
Happy Draft Day everybody! Have fun tonight but remember to be safe. Today is a new day for the Pelican Squadron so go out there and enjoy it, but dont forget that we have a season to enjoy so don’t do anything that will prevent yourselves from enjoying the first year of “The Flight of the Pelicans”.
The best part about trading for Jrue let’s the fans and league know that we’re serious about becoming a real contender. Think about all the marketing potential we gave away in Nerlens, be it “The Block Party in New Orleans” “Nerlens In Nawlins” or his throwback high top fade. None of that is about what the actual team on the court would have been though. Dell showed his genius and though I was happy when we got Noel that excitement level rose tenfold when I found out we got Jrue. Geaux Pels
First of all, I love the trade for us. I also love the trade for Philly, but these are two franchises on different timelines. I think the idea of Noel/Davis playing together was intriguing for a minute, but I never thought a guy like Jrue Holiday would shake loose. I think getting a sure thing, an All-Star who can be part of your foundation and a start of building a winning culture, is a safer bet than crossing your fingers and hoping you get another high draft pick. That’s how you fall into the Sacremento/Charlotte/Toronto trap of constantly rebuilding w/ draft picks and not getting better. I don’t think you can look at it in a vacuum, you have to think about each situation playing out.
We make the trade:
Our Situation: We add a legitimate All-Star PG to our roster, and fill one of our two biggest areas of need. We still have almost 6 million in cap space, plus the flexibility of the MLE, sign and trade, and highly moveable contracts of Lopez, Vasquez, Smith, and even Ryan Anderson (if a real big fish came available). There are sure to be other roster moves made to upgrade, especially at the 3. If we get the right SF, I can easily seeing us in the mix with all the teams in the West, save for OKC, SA, LAC, and maybe Memphis. With Memphis and San Antonio a year older and LAC being flawed, competing with them isn’t inconceivable either if everything breaks right. Holiday also falls in line with the timelines of Gordon, Davis, and Anderson going forward, whereas Noel and next year’s 1 would not.
The Draft Pick: IMO, the likely spot of the pick falling is in the late lottery to mid teens. Even in the mythical draft of 2003, there were only four legitimate impact players. In the 2012 draft, the last draft to be labeled best one ever, there only is one guy projected to end up being a truly impact player, and we got him.
Worst case scenario: Gordon gets injured, AD doesn’t develop, and we flop, then we are still in play for the impact guys in this draft. If we fall at #6 in the draft, the worst of the worst situations, the 6th best player from the 2003 draft was Kirk Heinrich. If we could trade Kirk Heinrich & Nerlens Noel for Jrue Holiday, you do it every time.
Cap Space: The argument that holds more water, for me anyway, than the talent for talent issue, is using the cap space. It’s a viable argument, but the question is what were we going to use the cap space on? Brandon Jennings at 8 million? Al Jefferson at 10? Monte Ellis at 9? Those are the contracts that get you in trouble: Borderline, flawed talent on inflated, long term contracts. Think Gerald Wallace, DeAndre Jordan, Jeremy Lin, Stephen Jackson, and the list goes on and on. IMO, getting a in their prime All-Star player in that 2nd contract extension is the most valuable “player/value” combination in the NBA, even more so than a Super Max guy not named LeBron. Chris Paul from 23-27 at his 13 million/year extension money is more valuable than Chris Paul from 27 on at a super max deal, for example. It’s why Miami is in trouble going forward: They paid a non-max player super max money.
If we didn’t make the trade –
Our Situation: We add a pogo stick of a Center to eventually play next to Anthony Davis, possibly having the best shot blocking front line in the NBA in 2-3 years. Since Noel won’t be able to play until December at the earliest, we are almost assured of having a lottery pick in the “loaded” 2014 draft. The big time free agents will avoid us like the plague, and chances are we will spend our cap space on guys like Brandon Jennings or Monta Ellis to fill in at PG and the Corey Brewers and Chris Copelands of the world to fill in at the 3. With that roster, we are still better than we were last year, especially figuring in AD and AR’s development, when we finished with the 5th worst record.
Draft Pick: In this scenario, we will still be a lottery team, but we will be better than last year. You can almost pencil in Charlotte, Sacramento, and Phoenix being worse than us again. Then, you have to take into account the landscape of the league. Boston and Philly are breaking it down to the studs. If LAL lose out on Dwight, they are all worse than us. We are in the mix record wise w/ TOR, MIL, ORL, POR, UT, DET, & whoever strikes out completely in Free Agency (ATL, DAL, CLE). Not only that, but whatever team is underperforming at mid-season, will fold their hand much earlier than in a normal year’s draft. I think next April we will be talking about half the league pulling a tank job of epic proportions. My point is, we don’t lose out on Wiggins because we won’t be bad enough, with or without Noel.
Best Case Scenario: We end up with the 6th pick, and have Nerlens Noel, Brandon Jennings/Monta Ellis, and the equivalent of 2003 Kirk Heinrich instead of Jrue Holiday and 6 million in cap space.
Cap Space: Without any proven players on the roster, we become end of the line for free agents. We end up falling into the trap of overpaying for guys, just like what we did with Mo Peterson, James Posey, and Peja in the past. Cap space is great, unless no one wants to take your money.
I have not been this excited about both the near-term and long-term potential of this team since 2008 when I was, admittedly, far less up to speed on what NBA-goodness really is.
The acquisition of Jrue Holiday, 23-year-old All-Star point guard, on a reasonable deal (4y around $10.5m per year). He’s solid on defense, skilled on offense, and a good guy. A total homerun.
To get Jrue, the Pelicans gave up Nerlens Noel, the sixth pick in this Draft, a protect pick in next year’s draft, but received the 42nd pick in this year’s Draft, which they used on Pierre Jackson.
Some take exception to the inclusion of that particular pick, protection of not, because of the depth of that draft. I can understand the force of habit and the seduction and allure of the Draft, especially after the Chris Paul and Anthony Davis luck, but at some point you have to have faith that your team is going to win and an understanding that at some point you have to enter the fray and not just build perpetually.
Remember, however you esteem the 2014 NBA Draft, you have to remember this team got the 6th pick with their 27 wins in a season with a quarter of their salary in dead money, and with Eric Gordon in and out of the lineup. This season, the team would likely have improved enough to make that pick, say, 10th. A Noel with high potential and a long road and 10th pick compared to an All-Star and building a culture of winning sooner.
Dell Demps still has to play this Cap Room game right, but this team could very well be in the middle of the playoffs next season, say, 4th to 6th seed, rather than one fighting for the 8th seed.
It’s time, I think, for Pelicans fans to take a step back, realize that this team, this coach, these players, are all about to be measured on their performance as measured by wins and more, not just the more.
It’s time, I think, for Pelicans fans to start enjoying the team, or at least the core, that they have rather than looking perpetually past them.
It’s time, I think, for Pelicans fans to raise their voices and bring in the people who have been `too cool’ or whatever to embrace this part of the City.
Embrace the Pelicans before you are labeled a bandwagon fan.
I couldn't help but think of that song when we traded for Holiday.
If we can get some more shooters he will be very dangerous, especially when getting screens from Davis.
We, Pelican fans, have a lot to be excited about. Our team has direction and yes, we have some things to fix but they are fewer than they have been for a very long time. I want to see Pelican fans excited about the positives and let's celebrate for once. Remember watching Tom Benson walking through the new practice facility when he was looking for Monty and talking about more wins? I think you can see that message coming into effect with these moves. Let's geaux Pelicans!
Why do I feel that that last part should be in some action movie like 300. lol I'm ready to get this train rolling!
Some are, some are not.
Trust me, I have little idea of what mainstream is and zero care.
If it is, fine, the masses got one right!